I'm thinking back to my old minstrelsy and passing days --not when I used to pass as a minstrel--but when those issues were the explicit focus of my work going all the way back to RISD.
And thinking about the world of movies of course. Let's see; Actor Herb Jeffries lived his life as a black man and acted in black cast movies...Al Jolson had an autobiographical belief that he actually had a black mammy down home somewhere. And then there's Quentin Tarentino...Zelig and Chameleon Man, Black Like Me, Soul Man and Gentleman's Agreement all come to mind.
So, for a limited time (about a week) and for your viewing pleasure I am posting my video 1/16th of 100%?!
Let me know what you think!
1/16th of 100%!?, video (23 minutes) Writer, director, editor 1993/96
Montage that examines themes of appropriation, miscegenation and minstrelsy through manipulating footage found in Hollywood movies from the 1920s through the 1950s-- including Imitation of Life, Showboat and The Jazz Singer.
A welcome break from CNN, it's Lee Tracy day on TCM's Summer Under the Stars. #TracyTCM
You know I how I feel about LT. Or maybe not 'cause back in the day, far pre-dating this blog, it was so hard to see his pictures. But I lived for a Film Forum screening of Blessed Event (1932) from maestro Roy Del Ruth. Despite his ubiquity in pre-code 30's comedy and despite the habit of the genre -- at least thus far -- I've never seen LT go into blackface which is just one of his many charms.
I can't list them all now - gots to pack but here is a link to a True Tracy Girl extolling his virtues in Bright Lights Film Journal:
His voice may be harsh and penetrating, but it's gloriously expressive: there's the triumphant cackle that goes up a full octave ("ha-HAH!"), the endearing cracks in the upper registers during moments of real or pretended passion, and the little throaty, crooning sound he makes as he moves in to kiss his leading lady. His zest and dynamism are inexhaustible, his body lunging and skidding, his hands dancing with exasperation and glee.